Wednesday 15 August 2018

The Creation of God Reveals His Compassion

Day 9 (15 August 2018, Wednesday)

Isaiah 63:7 I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

We enjoy daily the creation of God like the sun, the air, the water and the produce of the land.  But not necessarily everyone, even the highly educated, realize that fact and learn to appreciate the gifts of God.  Their lives become a pursuit of futility.

We have to tell people who do not understand, whether they are informed or ignorant.  The earliest Orang Asli did not do fish farming, they fished from the river.  They did not grow fruits but climbed trees for it.  They picked up fruits that fell to the ground.  They did not farm wild boars but hunted them.  They did not have bee-hives but obtained honey from the honeycomb on the tree.

All these bring to mind a verse from the bible.  “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate that he may bring forth food from the earth” (Psalm 104:14).  Food is a solid evidence of God’s presence and His provision.  It comes in all kind of flavours, and everyone is well fed and satisfied.

God sent his servants to show them there is a Creator who is almighty, good and awesome so that they learn to give thanks to the Father for His wonderful creation and ingenious design.  The Orang Asli is inseparable from their land, and God has not forgotten them.

Let men find no excuse, for God’s invisible attributes, namely.  His eternal power and divine nature, which are clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made, shall advance His Gospel.

Pray for the Families of Penang & Perak

Marital Faithfulness and Commitment

Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Mutual Love & Respect Between Husband & Wife

Ephesian 5:33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Bible Reading:       
Matthew 6 - 10                 Judges 15 – 19

Tuesday 14 August 2018

More than Meeting our Basic Needs

Day 8 (14 August 2018, Tuesday)

Isaiah 49:10 they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them.

Man has basic needs of food and shelter.  But some people are deprived of all these basic needs.  Some people are not properly clothed because of all kinds of unrighteous practices and unequal distribution of resources

All these things do happen in the main cities that are flourishing as well as subordinate cities or towns everywhere.

Ministries were established as God’s people witness these scarcities:
Helping the poor:  single-parent, families in dire needs, poor communities, and Orang Asli living below the poverty level.

Street ministers: 

Distribute food and daily necessities to the homeless.  Open centers for the homeless to take a bath and to do laundry.
Food bank: Provide families with food.
God has compassion for His people, and He allows them to live and to have lives.  God’s food is the One who comes from heaven, the One He gives to the world.  Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Our prayer is that these recipients will come to know God, who has compassion for them and who lead them to the stream of living water.  They will understand that God’s desire for them is more than living on in this life.

Pray for the People of Penang & Perak

Minority People Group : 

Semai & Temiar

Jeremiah 31:34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD.  For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

(Semai & Temiar:  Aboriginal tribes in Perak.  Government development projects do improve their lives, yet many more community development projects still need to be done to alleviate their marginalized status.)

Forsake Idolatry and Seek the Truth

Acts 17:29-30 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.  The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,….

Bible Reading:   
Matthew 1 - 5              Judges 10 - 14

Monday 13 August 2018

The Person of the Holy Spirit

Who Is the Holy Spirit?

A good number of religious beliefs teaches about a force that offers life and purpose to all things in all of the earth. One example is the concept of the karma- the law of cause and effect where everyone creates their own destiny by his thoughts, words, and deeds.

Most Christians, nevertheless, hold that this “force” is not a strange and impersonal by any means, instead, it's a God who cares greatly about our lives. Early Christianity exclusively and distinctly believes this God is one being made of three unique persons: the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Every single person in the Trinity shares precisely the same substance and possesses a special role. The relationship of love and community that is shared among the three flows over into a relationship that the triune God wants with each and every person. For that reason, the Holy Spirit is a significant aspect of who God is.

Biblical References

Christians believe the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity due to the fact Bible generally back up that idea.

The Old Testament helps to make various evidence to God’s Spirit. The Spirit was present at creation and gave strength and power to humans like Moses, Samson, and David. And the Psalms speak of the Holy Spirit’s boundless presence in which no person can hide or flee.

In the New Testament, authors also elaborated on the Holy Spirit. They wrote in regards to the Holy Spirit’s role in convicting people whenever they do wrong, guiding and directing people to do what is right, and often teaching and enlightening the truth about God to all who seek him. Luke, a medical practitioner and one of the Gospel writers, revealed that one’s relationship to God is very much like one’s relationship to the Holy Spirit.

However, knowing properly who the Holy Spirit is can be challenging. It’s fairly simple to believe God as a creator or a father-like figure. Also, Jesus is a touchable person who we can learn about and study. However, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, may appear far more unexplainable and incredibly elusive. A selection of examples can certainly help our understanding.

Describing the Holy Spirit

In the first English, translations of the Bible -the Holy Spirit is referred to as the “Holy Ghost.”

Ghosts are generally considered scary creatures. They reportedly haunt houses, graveyards, and people. Or ghosts are represented as nice and cute-like Casper or bed-sheet-covered three-year-olds who knock on the gates at Halloween.

But in line with most Christians, the Holy Spirit is neither scary nor cute. So what exactly is-or who is the Holy Spirit?

One image found in the Bible arises from nature. The word often translated “spirit” from Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible, also mean “breath” or “wind.”6 In this sense, the Holy Spirit is like the wind you can feel its effects when it blows however, you cannot pin it down.

Jesus described it using this method: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. Therefore it is with every person born of the Spirit.”

One more image regarding the Holy Spirit is advocate or helper. When Jesus was teaching his disciples at some point, he said, “All this I have spoken while still with you. Nevertheless, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

An advocate is someone who stands alongside you, works together with you, encourages and supports your cause. He is a counsellor who supports, defends, teaches, and helps you whenever you are having difficulties. Imagine a legal advocate who pleads your case in court. This is actually the role of the Holy Spirit for people who ask for his support in their lives.

The Presence of the Holy Spirit

So in some cases, the Holy Spirit is comparable to the mysterious but powerful wind; sometimes he is just like a special helper, partner, or advocate beside us. And yet Christians also believe the Holy Spirit can live within us, filling our minds and hearts with freedom, joy, purpose, and grace.

By doing this, the Holy Spirit could be the presence of Jesus in our lives.

When people first started following Jesus, his love infected them and changed their lives. Though Jesus is no longer in physical form present in the world, the Holy Spirit makes his life-giving presence accessible to all who seek him.

The apostle Paul simplified it like this: “But if Christ is in you, then despite the fact that your body is subject to death as a result of sin, the Spirit gives life by virtue of righteousness. Given that the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

That being said we take another look at the unexplained role of the Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, working together inexplicably to express God and his will in our lives.

What the Holy Spirit Does

Possibly the easiest way to fully grasp who the Holy Spirit comes from outlining what he does. For many years, men and women of faith have tried to communicate the sacred feeling they encounter when they pray and seek God.

To many, it’s a moment of power and inspiration that brings about emotions which can’t actually be explained. Some others summarize it as the voice of their conscience warning them of grave danger or challenging them to help someone in need of help. Additionally, it’s the tremendous sense that-when other people have let us down-we are not alone. We are still loved by a God who is both infinitely transcendent and imminently close.

Our Common Destiny

Today's Scripture: Ecclesiastes 9 (KJV)

Ecclesiastes 9 (KJV)
1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.

2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:

14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:

15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.

16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.

17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

Scripture Meaning

Good and bad men fare alike as to this world. (1-3) All men must die, Their portion as to this life. (4-10) Disappointments common. (11,12) Benefits of wisdom. (13-18)

Verses 1-3
We are not to think our searching into the word or works of God useless, because we cannot explain all difficulties. We may learn many things good for ourselves and useful to others. But man cannot always decide who are objects of God's special love, or under his wrath; and God will certainly put a difference between the precious and the vile, in the other world.
The difference as to present happiness, arises from the inward supports and consolations the righteous enjoy, and the benefit they derive from varied trials and mercies. As far as the sons of men are left to themselves, their hearts are full of evil; and prosperity in sin, causes them even to set God at defiance by daring wickedness. Though, on this side death, the righteous and the wicked may often seem to fare alike, on the other side there will be a vast difference between them.

Verses 4-10
The most despicable living man's state, is preferable to that of the most noble who have died impenitent. Solomon exhorts the wise and pious to cheerful confidence in God, whatever their condition in life. The meanest morsel, coming from their Father's love, in answer to prayer, will have a peculiar relish. Not that we may set our hearts upon the delights of sense, but what God has given us we may use with wisdom.
The joy here described, is the gladness of heart that springs from a sense of the Divine favour. This is the world of service, that to come is the world of recompence. All in their stations, may find some work to do. And above all, sinners have the salvation of their souls to seek after, believers have to prove their faith, adorn the gospel, glorify God, and serve their generation.

Verse 11-12
Men's success seldom equals their expectations. We must use means, but not trust to them: if we succeed, we must give God the praise; if crossed, we must submit to his will. Those who put off the great concerns of their souls, are caught in Satan's net, which he baits with some worldly object, for which they reject or neglect the gospel, and go on in sin till they suddenly fall into destruction.

Verses 13-18
A man may, by his wisdom, bring to pass that which he could never do by his strength. If God be for us, who can be against us, or stand before us? Solomon observes the power of wisdom, though it may labour under outward disadvantages.
How forcible are right words! But wise and good men must often content themselves with the satisfaction of having done good, or, at least, endeavoured to do it, when they cannot do the good they would, nor have the praise they should. How many of the good gifts, both of nature and Providence, does one sinner destroy and make waste! He who destroys his own soul destroys much good. One sinner may draw many into his destroying ways. See who are the friends and enemies of a kingdom or a family, if one saint does much good, and one sinner destroys much good.

Scripture Application

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Ecclesiastes with Chapter 9.
In our text today we see Solomon's final conclusion as Everyone has a common destiny which is death. Once we die we will face the judgement to live eternity in Heaven or Hell but what Solomon comments on how we cannot change the past.

Our testimony will in essence preach our funeral. In making application we see that how we live will be how we are remembered so we must live each day to the Honor and Glory of God. How about you? What will people say about you at your funeral? Let us learn from our text today to remember that we have a common destiny which is death and how we live will  preach our funeral, so as we live let us learn to do all for the glory of God.


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Acts of Compassion

Day 7 (13 August 2018, Wednesday)

Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

We are in an age of endless worries and concerns.  God commands His people to be compassionate and kind, clothed with virtues of humility, meekness and patience.  Otherwise, our compassion is unsustainable.

What is compassion?  It is giving others something they do not deserve.  Justice is giving something others deserve.  Hence, justice is rightfully doing what needs to be done whereas compassion is giving without reasons.  It makes compassion a hard practice for us.

God had compassion on us by sending His One and Only Son to demonstrate for us real compassion when He saw our inward brokenness.  We are enlightened and we have tasted the heavenly gift.  Hence, we are not supposed to remain as people who keep only the laws, and who concern only with our own holiness.  God wants us to reveal His attributes.  As we look around, we discover the practice of compassion is found everywhere.

Making home for the homeless elderly and taking care of their daily needs.  Helping them with their welfare application.  Do this without expecting a reward.

Visiting the sick in hospitals, organizing mobile and voluntary clinics, caring for the AIDS patients, running centers housing patients and their families.  Practice kindness.

Assisting the handicapped by providing skills training, life courses, education, etc.  Show compassion to the underprivileged.

Giving counsel to the youth by reshaping their self-image, breaking free from suicidal thoughts and providing them vocational training.  We need real meekness and patience!

Organizing inspirational and sex education talks as well Christian Fellowship in schools, to empower the students to be holy and beloved children of God.

We give thanks and pray for the ministries in the Body of Christ.  They stabilize our nation by laying tiles and bricks and they are people who have established firmly the Kingdom of God!

Pray for the Land of Penang & Perak

Healing from Historical Wounds

Jeremiah 33:6 Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.

Cleansing from Defilement and Idolatry

Zechariah 13:1-2 On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.  “And on that day”, declares the LORD the hosts, “I will cut off the names of the idols from the land so that they shall be remembered no more.  And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness.

Bible Reading:         
John 16-21                         Judges 6-9

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